September 20, 2019
Expressing its commitment to ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangements, Myanmar has pledged to adopt Euro IV/4 gasoline fuel standards by 2021 and Euro IV/4 diesel fuel standards by 2023.
At back-to-back national workshops on “Implementing Euro IV/4 Vehicle Emission Standards and Equivalent Fuel Quality Specifications” and “Developing Fuel Economy Baseline and Policies” in Nay Pyi Taw from September 19-20 organized by Clean Air Asia, UN Environment Programme, and Myanmar’s Ministry of Industry (MOI), key stakeholders gathered to address issues involving the implementation of a roadmap for a minimum of Euro IV/4 vehicle emission standards and equivalent fuel quality, and to discuss the national fuel economy of new light-duty vehicles in Myanmar and potential policy options for cleaner fuels and vehicles.
More than 30 representatives from MOI’s Energy Efficiency and Conversation Division, the Ministry of Education’s Department of Research and Innovation (National Standardization Council), the Ministry of Electricity and Energy, the Ministry of Environment’s Environmental Conservation Department, Ministry of Transport, and other key stakeholders took part in the workshops.
Mr U Kan Chun, Managing Director of the MOI’s No. 1 Heavy Industrial Enterprise, said the ministry was pushing for an energy efficiency and conservation law that also covered the transport sector, and stressed the importance of cooperation between agencies and other organizations in the development of responsive sectoral policies.
Ms Myat Mon Thein from the MOI elaborated on Myanmar’s current automotive policies and said that the aim was localize and advance the parts and vehicle production industry. In doing so, the government was seeking to reduce the importation of second-hand cars, promote the importation of semi knocked-down vehicles in the short term, and eventually have completely knocked-down manufacturing factories nationally in the medium to long term.
Ms Myat Mon Thein said Myanmar’s automotive policies were aligned with ASEAN Mutual Recognition Arrangements (MRA), and as such government agencies such as the MOI and the Ministry of Transport and Communications had adopted and implemented UN Regulations related to the automotive industry.
“Myanmar will also abide by the ASEAN MRA on the harmonization of UN regulations for exhaust emissions. This means the country will adopt Euro IV/4 standards by 2021 for gasoline vehicles and 2023 for diesel vehicles.”
Discussing the importance of establishing a fuel economy baseline in Myanmar and the common challenges being faced, Clean Air Asia’s Transport Program Coordinator Kathleen Dematera said: “There were challenges faced in determining the baseline data, including a lack of reliable fuel economy data sources, the level of detail of available data, and a lack of alternative sources to bridge existing data gaps.”
Dr Supat Wangwongwatana highlighted the potential opportunities for Myanmar to adopt Euro IV/4 and the benefits this would have in reducing emissions from mobile sources. Citing Thailand’s experience, Dr Supat said emission standards were used to eliminate two-stroke motorcycles from the roads rather than adopting policy that simply banned them. He also highlighted the importance of having a testing facility to ensure compliance, but pending its establishment he suggested that vehicle importers obtain a certificate of conformity from a certified laboratory.
“Implementing Euro IV/4 standards will reduce mobile emissions,” Dr Wangwongwatana said. “However, improving and revising those standards as the vehicle population increases and as congestion worsens is equally important. This is the main reason why a roadmap was adopted in Thailand, and why it must be adopted in Myanmar.”
On Day 2, Mr Aung Phyoe Minn, Assistant Director of the Energy Efficiency and Conservation Division under the MOI, presented the initial results of a joint study on fuel economy baseline and trends in Myanmar covering 65,535 light-duty vehicles (LDVs).
He said that as of 2015, the average fuel economy of registered LDVs was 8.7l/100km, which was slightly below the global average.
Clean Air Asia Transport Specialist Joemier Pontawe outlined three different policy approaches that could be adopted in Myanmar: Fuel economy standards, fuel economy fiscal instruments such as fuel, excise and registration taxes, and fuel economy labeling schemes.
“Before we identify the specific technicalities of these policies, it is very important to establish the fuel economy baseline of Myanmar so as to ensure that these policies are responsive to the current situation,” Mr Pontawe added.
Yan Naing Lwin, Deputy Director of the Department of Trade under the Ministry of Commerce, said a Supervisory Committee for Motor Vehicles Importation comprised of nine ministries and agencies was established in 2011 to develop vehicle importation policies, with the goal of favoring newer vehicles and gradually phasing out older and more polluting vehicles.
These national workshops are part of the effort led by UNEP, the Global Fuel Economy Initiative, including the European Union, the FIA Foundation, and the Hewlett Foundation.